My long-time GP (20+ years) recently retired, and the family practice to which The Bride and I matriculate asked if we wanted to remain with that practice. We said we wanted to stay there since we always felt we were well cared for, even if it’s in Plattsburgh, almost a 3-hour drive now that we’ve retired. The next question: Would Ilike a nurse practitioner or a real doctor? (“real doctor” wasn’t the term used but it might as well have been). I said that I’d like a doctor since I don’t want anyone practicing on me. Besides, one time our GP was away and I had to see the nurse practitioner because I chose that inopportune time to come down with shingles. I went into her office and she asked me how far the rash extended since it was obviously somewhat south of my waistline, which is as far as she’d asked to disrobe. So I showed her, and I’m not sure that’s what she had intended.
My first visit to our new GP was in April, and he walked in carrying an IPod and stethoscope. That’s it. I told him this would take some getting used to, that I was used to this Yoda-like person barely 5 feet tall shuffling in with a thick manila folder containing all my records for the past 20+ years, then sitting down surrounded by stacks of manila folders of all her other patients. Her notes (from over 40 visits) were all in long-hand, never transcribed so to find a piece of lab data she’d pore back through page after page of charts, reports, etc. She was wonderful, caring, and all a person could ask for in a GP. Her office staff simply adored her. But in technological terms she was so “yesterday”–not at all surprising since she was nearly 80. I’m sure we’ll like our new GP, but it’s like starting all over and not just for us since he commented that all her notes were in longhand and therefore not easily accessible, especially for a family practice as large and active as this one.
The point of all this–and I’m sure by now you’re wondering: Which are you? Still in the “longhand” age or have you moved into the 21st century and are relying on databases, computerized records, reporting information in such a way that it can be used to evaluate your farm business? In some way I’m “preaching to the choir” since you’re reading this post on-line, while the people I’d really like to reach are those who still don’t use the internet.